Thermal Physics

By Prof. Debamalya Banerjee   |   IIT Kharagpur
Learners enrolled: 267
Thermal physics is a course that is designed to fulfil the requirements of 1 st and 2nd year BSc students studying physics. Starting from basic understanding, this course will take the students through all fundamental aspects of thermodynamics in a simple way. The first part of the course deals with the Kinetic theory of gases, that bridges the connection between macroscopic and microscopic world. In here, we have also included transport phenomenon involved in ideal gases, the theory of specific heat and behavior of real gases. In second half of the course, effort is made to understand the fundamental laws of thermodynamics and applications to various thermo-dynamical systems and processes. Additionally, a discussion on black body as a thermodynamic system has been included.

INTENDED-AUDIENCE: BSc students (across CBCS platform)

Course Status : Upcoming
Course Type : Core
Duration : 12 weeks
Start Date : 23 Jan 2023
End Date : 14 Apr 2023
Exam Date : 30 Apr 2023 IST
Enrollment Ends : 30 Jan 2023
Category :
  • Physics
Credit Points : 3
Level : Undergraduate

Page Visits

Course layout

Week 1 : Kinetic theory of gasses: Maxwell-Boltzmann speed distribution law, average speed, RMS speed, most probable speed, pressure expression from kinetic theory
Week 2 : Mean free path, collision probability, Fundamentals of transport phenomena
Week 3 : Viscosity, diffusion, effusion, thermal conductivity in gasses.
Week 4 : Brownian motion and its significance, Einstein’s theory of molecular diffusion, Perrin’s experiment, random walk (concept only)
Week 5 : Principle of equipartition of energy, degrees of freedom, Specific heat of monoatomic, diatomic and polyatomic gasses, Specific heat of solids, Dulong-petit law, Einstein and Debye theory of specific heat of solids
Week 6 : Real gasses, deviation from ideal gas equation, The Van-der Walls equation of state, the virial coefficients, other equation of state (elementary discussion)
Week 7Zeroth and 1 st law of thermodynamics, quasi static processes, work and internal energy, isothermal and adiabatic processes, elastic coefficients of matter
Week 8 : Cyclic process, heat engines and refrigerators, Carnot’s theorem and Carnot’s cycle, 2 nd law of thermodynamics, Clausius’ theorem, Entropy.
Week 9 : The entropy principle, The T-S diagram, Otto and diesel cycles, entropy and unavailable energy, physical interpretation of entropy.
Week 10 : Maxwell’s thermodynamics relations, the TdS, Gibbs- Helmholtz and energy equations, Enthalpy, Helmholtz and Gibbs free energies, general condition for thermodynamic equilibrium, thermodynamics of chemical reactions
Week 11 : Equilibrium between phases, 1 st order phase transitions, 1 st and 2nd latent heat equations, Phase diagram and Triple point, 2
nd order phase transition and Ehrenfest equations, Gibbs phase rule and simple applications.
Week 12 : Radiation: Energy density and pressure of radiation, Blackbody radiation and Kirchhoff’s law, Blackbody (Cavity) radiation as a thermodynamic system, 3 rd law of thermodynamics, entropy at absolute zero temperature

Books and references

  1. Thermal Physics by S.C Garg, R. M. Bansal and C. K. Ghosh, McGraw-Hill, 2012
  2. Thermal Physics by A. B. Gupta, H. P. Roy, Books & Allied Ltd, 2010
  3. Heat and Thermodynamics, M.W. Zemansky, R. Dittman, McGraw-Hill, 1981
  4. Concepts of thermal physics, S. J. Blundell and K. M. Blundell, Oxford university press, 2010

Instructor bio

Prof. Debamalya Banerjee

IIT Kharagpur
Dr. Debamalya Banerjee has joined department of physics, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur in December 2013. Over last 7 years he has taught several core courses to undergraduate physics students including 1st year physics, Physics 2, classical mechanics, computational physics and thermal physics. His present research interest includes experimental studies of charge transport processes in different organic and inorganic semiconductors and electron paramagnetic resonance.

Course certificate

The course is free to enroll and learn from. But if you want a certificate, you have to register and write the proctored exam conducted by us in person at any of the designated exam centres.
The exam is optional for a fee of Rs 1000/- (Rupees one thousand only).
Date and Time of Exams: 
30 April 2023 Morning session 9am to 12 noon; Afternoon Session 2pm to 5pm.
Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published. If there are any changes, it will be mentioned then.
Please check the form for more details on the cities where the exams will be held, the conditions you agree to when you fill the form etc.


Average assignment score = 25% of average of best 8 assignments out of the total 12 assignments given in the course.
Exam score = 75% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100

Final score = Average assignment score + Exam score

YOU WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR A CERTIFICATE ONLY IF AVERAGE ASSIGNMENT SCORE >=10/25 AND EXAM SCORE >= 30/75. If one of the 2 criteria is not met, you will not get the certificate even if the Final score >= 40/100.

Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT Kharagpur. It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.

Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies will not be dispatched.

Once again, thanks for your interest in our online courses and certification. Happy learning.

- NPTEL team

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